Macau has become a playground for families and tourists – and that appears to be a turn-off for high-rolling gamblers during holidays.
The region’s gambling revenue growth climbed 5.7 percent in February, the slowest pace since January 2017, according to data released yesterday from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The data showed a slow start in the first few days of the Chinese New Year, which started on February 15, and according to analysts high- stakes players decided to stay away from the world’s biggest gaming hub.
The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong said yesterday that he is “not worried” with the results, even if casino revenue during the Chinese New Year season was much lower than expected.
Leong said that due to the inconsistent timing of Chinese New Year, quarterly data would give a better representation of gaming activity in the period. “It is more scientific if we check the final results afterwards and by quarter instead of monthly,” he concluded.
The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino stocks reversed an earlier gain after the data release. SJM Holdings Ltd. and Sands China Ltd. dropped more than 3 percent in Hong Kong yesterday, a steeper fall than the benchmark Hang Seng index.
Still, the quiet Chinese New Year won’t change investors’ positive view of Macau in the long term, with the territory expected to benefit from China’s growing consumption and leisure demand, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst DS Kim wrote in an earlier note.